KUALA LUMPUR – Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak Monday said former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement that the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) was tantamount to corruption was simply mind-boggling.
“Mahathir’s interpretation of corruption definitely differs from that of the rest of us. Never before have we heard something so mind-boggling,” Salleh posted on his blog at http://sskeruak.blogspot.my/, here, Monday.
Salleh said Malaysia had been dishing out welfare aid since long before Mahathir became prime minister in 1981.
He added that since the year 2000, Terengganu had been giving direct aid to its people in all forms, the same as BR1M.
“It was Mahathir’s wang ehsan that financed this special Terengganu aid programme. After implementing the wang ehsan and Terengganu’s aid programme in 2000, Mahathir now turns around and condemns BR1M,” he said.
The local media reported yesterday that Mahathir claimed that BR1M was a form of corruption and was therefore illegal or a crime from the point of law.
Meanwhile, Salleh questioned Mahathir that “if the opposition comes to power, will all aid and welfare programme be abolished?”, while urging Mahathir to clarify further on this matter.
“How can you classify aid programme as corruption? Are tax deductions and rebates also corruption? What about zakat and kebajikan (welfare aid)? All are forms of aid, just like BR1M.
“When other people receive aid Mahathir calls it corruption. What about when his own family becomes rich and his sons become millionaires? What do we call that? Mahathir would not call BR1M corruption if it is his own family that receives it,” Salleh said.